23. Call to Arms
It was some hours later that he was shaken gently awake by the elf who had tended him earlier. "Come, we are readying to depart."
Boromir nodded and sat up, the light blanket he'd been covered with falling away to his lap. He stretched cramped shoulders, wincing a little as his chest pulled at the scars, making him hold his shoulder and rotate it more circumspectly, a grimace on his face.
"Let me see the wounds," said the elf, "Pull your shirt up carefully, so as not to open them."
Boromir did so, allowing the elf to see first his back. "What is your name?" he asked.
Bormir nodded, sitting quietly while Tasarion probed the muscles of his back and shoulder; with skilled fingers he traced the healing flesh.
"Good; now, turn for me."
Boromir did so, pulling his shirt over his head. Tasarion cocked his head to one side and gave a slight smile before he carried on his explorations; now taking Boromir's arm and raising it and pushing it, asking if he felt any pain. Only the most extreme twists gave him anything more than small discomfort.
"They heal well. And how do you feel?" Tasarion looked him straight in the eye, studying the man's face carefully as he thought for a moment before he replied.
"I feel much better. But… everything seems… removed from me… like…" he faded into silence, ducking his head.
Tasarion touched his arm, clasping it gently, "There is no shame, lord. You have been very ill, very near to departing, so my Lord Celeborn said. To feel… confused…is not something that should trouble you over much."
Boromir nodded without speaking, idly noting that Tasarion lived up to his name – 'Willow' – He was indeed very slender under his heavy travelling tunic, with narrow shoulders and long-fingered supple hands. Although he bore no weapons, he had calloused pads on his fore-fingers and thumb, '…an archer, then…' Boromir thought idly.
"I'm to be your guide. I've bought water and clothes, but I've no fresh shirt for you – we travel light, and you are broader in the shoulder than most…" Tasarion let the remark fade into a grin as he turned away and began to take the other now vacant camp-cot apart.
Boromir crouched by the large bowl on the floor and splashed water over his face and chest, lathering the soap onto a cloth and rubbing the sleep from his body. 'White flowers and sandalwood…' he knew that scent… Tasarion offered to wash his back and he passed the cloth to him. The elf's touch was deft and quick. Boromir felt better for the tepid water; he dressed putting his shirt and boots back on before Tasarion helped him with his leathers.
"Where is Lord Celeborn?" asked Boromir.
"He breaks his fast before we leave."
"Yet it's still night?" Boromir suddenly realised he could see, perhaps not as clearly as one part of him thought he should… but he could see, even though only Ithil and the stars lit the camp. Before he could voice his question 'why', a group of elves appeared at a run from the trees beyond the camp to the north; the leaders shouted for Lord Celeborn. Elves pointed the way and they charged on urgently. Boromir followed, Tasarion behind him.
The running elves had found their lord; "Yrch!" blurted the leader, "A mighty army. They approach from the north and east in full war-gear!"
Celeborn and the other captains shot to their feet. Celeborn barked orders, every sign of the gentle, wise elf subsumed under the new guise of commander – but Boromir knew this was no novice. This was a seasoned warrior organising his troops with speed and efficiency. His captains were given orders to pass on; some healers were dispatched to take their charges deep into the woods and make their way by secret paths to Caras Galadhon the best they could. Others were ordered to take the essentials of their craft and come with the warriors to the northern borders. If the messages were right, they would have much work to do.Boromir felt a thrill unlooked for roll through him, 'Battle!' He grinned, a feral smile of anticipation. Haldir caught sight of him beyond the hurrying mass of elves preparing to make a hasty departure; he came over to them.
"Tasarion, go with the healers and take Lord Boromir with you…"
"No!" shouted Boromir emphatically, "I fight!"
Haldir paused, lips pressed together, not used to being defied. Just then Lord Celeborn saw them; his eyes flashed silver and walked quickly towards them. Grabbing Boromir's arm, he swung him around to face him. The elf stared down into the man's eyes for long moments; and the man's gaze never wavered from the brilliant silver of the elf-lord's eyes. Celeborn eventually relaxed; he nodded to himself, put his two hands on either side of Boromir's head, took a breath and covered the man's mouth with his own. He exhaled a long slow breath into Boromir's mouth, the man's eyes fluttering closed as he inhaled. The next breath they breathed together one from the other, until Celeborn dropped his hands away. Boromir staggered, but Tasarion was there to catch him before the man opened his eyes fully. He put his own hands to his temples momentarily.
"My lady…" he muttered, and shook his head as if to clear his vision. Then he stopped, paused, and looked up at Lord Celeborn. "I am Celebmir, and I am yours to command, my lord."
Tasarion frowned a little and looked to Lord Celeborn questioningly. Celeborn shook his head, raising a hand to silence questions. "Keep him with you, and take your position at the rear with the archers. He will fire a bow with the best of them," he added, placing a hand on the man's shoulder.
"Celebmir… if you will fight, you will fight under my orders. We need bows as much as swords and spears to keep back the evil tide that Sauron has loosed on us. Do as I bid – you are not under orders or stricture, but you must do as I ask!"
Boromir nodded slowly. He did not know completely who he was – but he could remember fighting orcs; he could remember it was yrch arrows that had pierced his chest. In a sudden burst of clarity he not only remembered the dark-haired man with grey eyes who had been his companion, but he also remembered the face of the golden-haired man who had so anxiously sworn an oath of fealty to him. The golden-haired man had tears in his eyes before he let their joined hands go, before he had walked away with slumped shoulders. Just for a moment it was if a mist had cleared and suddenly he could see his surroundings clearly; then just as suddenly a wave of exhaustion rolled over him. He reeled, having to keep himself upright with will alone, before Tasarion grabbed his arm and guided him back to lean against a cart.
Lord Celeborn looked at Tasarion, "Find him a suitable bow, keep towards the rear and if things go ill… guide him back the best you can." Then he turned and strode away.
Haldir touched Tasarion's arm, "He will want to fight hard – the adan burns bright – but don't forget - he is only a man."
Tasarion nodded, "Both of us will shoot true!"
"Haldir!" said Boromir as the elf turned to go, "I will fight – my hand on it!"
Haldir looked at the man's outstretched hand before taking it in the warrior's grip, hand to wrist. "It is not how you fight… it may be how you die…"
They stood for a moment, hands clasped.
"The ways to Mandos are many, but I don't intend treading that path yet awhile!" said Boromir with a wry grin.
Haldir smiled, "No… neither do I!" Then he too strode away, soon disappearing into the trees.
Tasarion called for the bow-master to find a suitable weapon for the man, and a long, light bow, along with a thumb guard to strap to his hand quickly appeared. Half the archers had already left by the time Boromir had strapped the leather to his hand and picked up his share of the grey-feathered arrows. He set off after Tasarion at a steady jog, heading north-east under the moon's light to battle.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.